Aim: Presentation of technical know-how associated with the application of Fire Safety Engineering (FSE) tools during the design and commissioning stage of ventilation systems in enclosed car parks. Specific focus is placed on the presentation of differential equations which form the basis of the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) technique, physical models used in computation and boundary conditions associated with fire incidents.

Introduction: The design of fire ventilation systems in enclosed car parks is a long, complicated and multi-staged process. The absence of clear national guidelines and simultaneous functional requirements, stipulated in technical construction regulations about effectiveness of the operating system, make the task more difficult. Evaluation of the design requires explicit knowledge, not only about standards and legal requirements, but also about the application of most up to date engineering tools, such as the computation method of fluid dynamics CFD or performance evaluation of installations with the application of heated smoke. Individuals tasked with previously mentioned responsibilities should be suitably equipped to address basic issues. It is essential to encapsulate fundamental knowledge of relevant elements within a succinct framework. Simultaneously, appropriate literature should be identified and made accessible to assist with a search for answers to more difficult questions.

Methodology: The article includes an analysis of relevant literature, studies conducted by authors under the auspices of a development grant nr. 04 0003 06 “Smoke and heat control in car parks” as well as statutory tasks performed by the Building Research Institute (BRI) and finally ongoing activities of the Fire Research Department of BRI.

Conclusions: The use of modern FSE tools, such as CFD analysis or hot smoke performance evaluation are common procedures in current times. They are performed for almost every design of smoke and heat exhaust system in enclosed car parks. Interpretation of analysis results is often difficult and ambiguous. Individuals responsible for verification of the design, State Fire Service staff responsible for commissioning or others who participate in the project design have to understand the source of assumptions and simplifications which are made and be in a position to verify the basis for their application. Only such cognisant use of FSE tools will give confidence that evaluation results are close to reality and subsequent conclusions are correct.

Keywords: fire ventilation, enclosed car parks, smoke and heat exhaust systems, jet-fan ventilation

Type of article: review article